How To Deal When Your Healthy Lifestyle Is Stressing You Out
Setting goals for ourselves when it comes to our health can be incredibly empowering. Want to gain some kickass muscle mass with boxing classes? Amazing. Ready to cut out added sugar to recalibrate your relationship with food? Go for it! There’s absolutely nothing wrong with narrowing in on an improvement you want to make and dedicating a solid amount of attention and energy to it.
But just as there are health-minded goals, there are healthy limits to set with those goals. We get so stressed out so easily about how much progress we are making toward our ideal picture of health that we ultimately compromise our health. Sheesh, talk about ironic.
If you think you’re veering toward an unhealthy, obsessive place with your current focus, or you catch yourself feeling more agitated than uplifted more often than not, pause for a moment and follow the three steps below.
When Stress Strikes: Take a few deep breaths.
Close your eyes. Breathe in a nice, long, slow inhale through your nose and gently but audibly exhale that toxic energy away. Repeat three more times, and then open your eyes and see if you feel even the teeniest bit calmer.
Catching ourselves at the beginning of a freakout is often the hardest part of this entire experience. I know, waking up at 5 a.m. for my planned workout after a horrible night’s sleep sends me into a low-key fit of rage, too. The battle in my brain of “to press snooze or to stick to my goal” can create so much frustration (and cortisol in my body) that I almost cancel out the benefits of the hot yoga class I scheduled before I even get to the studio. And that’s just absurd.
No matter the situation, allow yourself a minute find your calm. It is only from that frame of mind that you can make the best decisions for you.
Over The Course Of Your Day: Give yourself some credit.
Hey, it’s not easy to work as hard as you do toward a goal you genuinely want to accomplish — especially when it requires balancing with work, friendships and other life commitments. Always remember how much of a badass you are for caring enough to prioritize your health in the first place.
And take pride in the small wins you have each day. Acknowledge yourself for taking an extra long walk during your lunch break, or bringing your healthy meal-prepped lunch instead of dining out with the rest of your coworkers. These little things take effort and willpower, and the more often you give yourself a little positive nudge about a good decision instead of pulling your hair out over mistakes, the more motivated you’ll feel to continue along your path to wellness in a healthy way.
During Your Time Of Reflection: Realign your goals with reality.
It’s never a bad idea to take a moment each week and reflect on your goals, your progress toward them and how they are impacting your life. We often hold ourselves to such strict rules when life actually requires flexibility. Frequent adjusting or course-correcting isn’t cheating — it’s making sure you’re focused on something you can (and will!) achieve and feel amazing about when you do.
The last thing you want to do is continue down a path that’s ultimately not serving you, and yes, even healthy paths have their dark twists and turns. Know your limits, and push a bit beyond them, but not so much that you break. It is only then that you will see sustained progress toward whatever your health-minded heart desires without unnecessary bouts of self-destruction.